By Samuel Oyadongha & Emem Idio
IGBOMOTORU—The waterways are the most dangerous place to be in Bayelsa State, which by its topography, has so many rivers, rivulets, creeks, tributaries and large swathe of mangrove swamps, making it more deltaic than Delta and Rivers state respectively.
Investigations by Niger Delta Voice showed that pirates and oil thieves in Southern Ijaw area have made the waterways of the state unsafe.
The Joint Task Force, JTF, Bayelsa State Police Command, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Bayelsa state and other security agencies have been locked in a battle with the armed gangs.
Southern Ijaw is most notorious
Public Relations Officer, NSCDC, Bayelsa, Dauzuo Izonfate, said: “Almost the whole of Southern Ijaw local government area, not only Azuzuama and Lobia, are notorious for criminal activities, especially bunkering, pipeline vandalism, sea piracy and illegal petroleum refineries.
“These criminal activities are common and widespread in these areas and have gradually become a part of life of the people and in some cases a means of livelihood.”
He said the Command had in the course of its operations in the area, destroyed over 680 illegal local refineries, while scores of arrests had also been made, noting that perpetrators of the illegal acts were not just ex-militants that were left out of the amnesty programme, but also cult gangs and locals, lured to the illicit trade on account of its lucrative nature.
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